Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Austrian Grenadiers

A busy day at the painting table over the bank holiday resulted in the following joining the ranks of Marlborough's Allied army

They were part of Montfort's Bde at the assault on the Schellenberg. The brigade comprised 3 battalions of converged grenadiers from Austrian, Franconian & Swabian regiments..

This unit represents the battalion made up from the Austrian regiments, so the battalion includes grenadiers painted to represent the infantry regiments of Baden, Salm and Tollet.

At the Schellenberg – this brigade was part of the advance guard and Count Styrum was killed while leading the formation in support of Goor's assault, while the rest of the imperial army outflanked D'Arco's position.

Bit of history and reference – and there’s plenty of discussion about the how’s and when’s of these converged units – some argue that the Austrians combined and un-combined converged regiments at the drop of a hat, others say they were converged at the beginning of a campaign and stayed together to the end – the more middle view – and the one I’m taking, is that it could have been either depending on situation – my further impression is that for at least the attack on the Schellenberg it was a decision taken just before the battle/assault – so a more ad hoc arrangement..

Alphons Freiherr von Wrede wrote a book, “Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht”, at the end of the 19th Century that details on a regiment by regiment basis from about 1618 onwards every unit of the land forces including all engagements, commanders, losses of senior officers and lineage (now that would be worth reading!). In it he states: `In times of war, at least from the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, it was the custom that the grenadier companies were taken from their parent regiments and formed into special battalions under nominated commanders and used as such on separate, important missions.” So jury is out – it was obviously common practice but no view on how permanent these converged units were..

Duffy wrote that Austrian grenadier “units” were basically more a part of their parent regiment than the Prussian grenadiers were, and they did not have a sort of permanent inhaber (commander) like the Prussians. Commanders of the Austrian grenadier battalions, when brigaded, tended to be very much more appointed on a kind of ad hoc basis. "Austrian Grenadiers… not organised, nor deployed by combined grenadier battalion, but by company and only by company. A group of companies may be given a specific task and sent off on an expedition or to another part of the battlefield, but it was entirely an ad-hoc measure (unlike Prussians for example).” In the winter, generally in winter quarters, the grenadier companies were with their parent regiments, which was not the case with the Prussian grenadier battalions. So he leans very definitely towards the ad hoc argument…

Figures are 15mm and by Essex (purchased at Salute this year) - good fun to paint as well - made a nice change from tricorne's to be painting bearskins! For something much more nicely painted than mine see the following from the Front Rank website.. exquisite....


  1. Steve,

    My problem with figures like the one from Front Rank is that they are so overly-detailed for the sort of indifferent painter that I am.

    While I salute those painters who have the skill and patience to to such figures justice, I personally prefer simpler, more basic sculpts.

    My basic viewpoint is that if a detail isn't noticeable from 3' away, it shouldn't be on the sculpt. I paint for the tabletop, not the display case . . . although there is certainly nothing wrong with those who enjoy the extra detail.

    -- Jeff

  2. ..fair point, but conversely, the newer figures (despite the detail) are probably easier to paint than the old style one's you I paint for the table top as well, but I have found that the newer figures are better suited to my painting style - let me explain..

    I almost always black undercoat, dampbrush white, and then apply colours from there using an even "damper" brush.. basically all my figures comprise a series of dry brushes from the undercoat "out" to the surface.. the extra detail on the newer figures is picked up when you use this technique almost effortlessly.. basically, they make even my cr*p painting look good! :o))

    Where the newer figures fail (only in my view) is with cost, but also with anatomy - they always look a little cartoonish in the face (Foundry are worst for this), big hands, bulging calves etc etc. The older sculpts look more pleasing to the eye - but they do take a little longer to paint..

  3. Steve,

    *grin* . . . I also black prime, white damp brush and then paint.

    Oh, yes. The modern prices are atrocious . . . but then we don't have to buy those figures if we don't feel we're getting appropriate value.

    On the other hand, the sculptors should get some decent money . . . although I have my doubts that much actually gets to them.

    -- Jeff

  4. Nicely done, Steve. Have you seen that Richard Holmes has just published a new biography of Marlborough - should be worth reading.


  5. Giles - indeed it will - I got so excited about it that for the first time ever I actually pre-ordered from Amazon. Got an email today telling me it's on its way... :o))